Finalist Interviews for Sourcing Star Awards: Jerome Arfeli, UPS
Jerome is a Procurement professional with over 17 years’ experience in Global Procurement, Strategic Sourcing, Supplier and Program Management. He has held several roles and assignments, including managing raw materials commodities for Solvay, multiple indirect categories at The Coca-Cola Company and most recently Jerome has been leading Strategic Sourcing and helping to drive organizational transformation and S2P implementation technologies at UPS.
How did you get into this field. Was it purposeful or by accident?
Actually, my entry into Procurement was unexpected. I was finalizing my engineering internship at Solvay in a production facility in Belgium, when I decided to submit my resume to the centralized HR database of resumes without applying to any specific role. A few weeks later, a recruiter called me to discuss an analyst opportunity within Solvay’s newly created centralized procurement organization. I got the job and I was hooked on Procurement ever since!
In what ways do you feel your professional contributions have influenced or transformed the industry?
Although I have always worked for well-established global companies. (Solvay 159 years old, The Coca-Cola Company 136 years old and UPS 115 years old), I seem to always arrive at the moment their Procurement departments were under-going tremendous changes. This allowed me to be part of impactful Procurement transformation initiatives, from standing up new teams from scratch, implementing transformative operating models and driving the implementation of innovative technologies to support the Sourcing to Contract process.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the industry today and what should be done to solve them?
Delivering procurement savings in a significant inflationary and supply disruption environment as we are facing today, is more challenging than ever. Aligning with stakeholders to revamp major category strategies is key to executing on levers that might have been difficult to accomplish in the past. Just a few of those levers may require challenging demand and existing specifications, being more agile in allowing new entrants, and mitigating higher levels of risk alternative sources may represent. These actions are essential for any company working to balance cost and risk of supply in this unprecidented time.
Looking at the whole of your career, what do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Through my career in Procurement, I had the opportunity to work and live in four continents. From starting my career in Europe, then moved in the USA in 2010, followed by global assignments with team responsibilities located in Asia and Latin America. I could have not asked for a better opportunity to apply my multi-cultural and languages skillsets.
What three words do you feel your colleagues and peers would use to describe you?
What advice do you have for those who are new to the profession or considering entering the industry?
Adapting to new technologies as they mature, being a change agent and challenging the status quos will allow you to grow as individual but also to provide the highest impact in the organizations you will be working for.